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Moreland continues impressive play

The Sports Xchange
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DH Mitch Moreland found a way to play around his sore right hamstring -- he just trotted.

Moreland, who was scratched from Thursday's game, was questionable until after batting practice on Friday. But after watching him hit and move, the Rangers told him to be "smart" and allowed him in the lineup.

All Moreland did was hit two homers and drive in five runs to key the offensive portion of the Rangers' 7-4 win over Chicago. It's safe to say the trotting wasn't too tough on the hamstring.

It simply continued Moreland's hot road trip, in which he is now 11-for-27 (.407) with three home runs and nine RBIs. After seeing his season batting average dip as low as .266 two weeks ago, Moreland has now pushed it back up to .280.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the recent surge coincides with Moreland passing one full year of service time in the majors. He passed the mark on July 27th and has emerged a bit wiser and more patient.

"I think I just got into some bad habits," Moreland said. "I've learned to slow things down a little and not force things in the batter's box. I think I was getting out of my game plan. I've done a lot better with it lately and strung together some quality at-bats."

Perhaps nothing demonstrates that as well as his two home run at-bats Friday. He twice delivered two-out homers when he came up with men in scoring position. He'd hit only one of his first 14 homers with two outs and was just 7-for-40 (.175) with two outs and runners in scoring position coming into the game.

In the third, with the Rangers down 3-1, he drove a 1-and-0 fastball from Jake Peavy over the center field wall for a three-run homer that gave the Rangers the lead. In the sixth, he extended a one-run lead with a two-run homer off Peavy.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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